Obesity is a common problem in hedgehogs, caused by a diet that is too rich and a lack of exercise. Some individuals will become unable to curl up into a ball. Obesity can cause hepatic lipidosis (excess fat in the liver). Naturally, a leaner diet and more exercise will help the hedgehog to regain a healthy weight.
This condition is genetic. Therefore, it is important to check at the time of purchase that the parents are free of it.
The disease is characterized by a slow and progressive paralysis that starts in the hind legs. The first symptoms appear around 18 to 24 months of age. Weight loss is noted due to increasing difficulty in moving around.
There is no known treatment.
Hedgehogs are often brought to the veterinarian for losing their spikes. The two most common conditions are ringworm and scabies.
Ringworm is caused by microscopic fungi. It develops at the base of the spikes and damages the follicle. As a result, the spikes fall off. These are the same fungi that cause ringworm in dogs and cats. It is a zoonosis (disease transmissible to humans).
Antifungal medication is prescribed to treat this condition.
The other condition is scabies caused by mites that tunnel through the skin. These mites can sometimes be seen with the naked eye when they are present in large numbers. These skin parasites cause severe itching and the fall of several spikes.
Similar to other animal species, injectable ivermectin is the best treatment.